Factors such as latency, bandwidth, security, and privacy are driving the adoption of edge computing, which aims to process data closer to where it is generated. Imagine a temperature sensor in a shipyard or a fleet of cameras in a distribution center. Normally, the data they contain must be transmitted to a server for analysis. But with a state-of-the-art computing setup, data can be processed on-premises, eliminating cloud computing costs and enabling processing at higher speeds and volumes (in theory).
However, technical challenges can hinder successful edge computing deployments. This is according to Saïd Ouissal, CEO of Zededa, which provides distributed edge virtualization and orchestration software. Ouissal has a product to sell — Zededa works with customers to help manage peripheral devices — but he points to Zededa’s growth to back up his claim. The number of advanced devices under the company’s management has increased fourfold over the past year, while Zededa’s revenue has increased sevenfold, Ouissal said.
Zedda’s success in securing liquidity during a downturn also suggests that the edge computing market is robust. The company has raised $26 million in Series B funding, Zeeda announced today, through a series of investors including Coast Range Capital, Lux Capital, Energize Ventures, Almaz Capital, Porsche Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, Juniper Networks, Rockwell Automation, Samsung Next and EDF North America Ventures.
“There were two main trends that led to the creation of Zededa,” Ouissal told TechCrunch in an email interview. “First, as more and more devices, people and places became more connected, unprecedented amounts of data were being generated…Second, the scale and diversity of what was happening at edge would be unmanageable for organizations in a use case mode.The only effective way to manage this type of environment was for organizations to have visibility across all hardware, applications, clouds and distributed networks in their edge environments, just as they did in the data center or the cloud.
Ouissal co-founded Zeeda in 2016 alongside Erik Nordmark, Roman Shaposhnik and Vijay Tapaskar. Previously, Ouissal was vice president of strategy and customer management at Ericsson and chief product officer at Juniper Networks. Nordmark was a distinguished engineer at Cisco, while Shaposhnik, also an engineer by training, spent years developing cloud architectures at Sun Microsystems, Huawei, Yahoo and Cloudera.
Zededa’s software-as-a-service product, which works with devices from brands such as SuperMicro, monitors edge installations to ensure they are performing as expected. It also guides users through deployment steps, drawing on open source projects designed for IoT orchestration and cyber defense. Zededa’s technology stack, for example, is based on the Linux Foundation’s EVE-OS, an open Linux-based operating system for distributed edge computing.
Zededa aims to support most white label devices offered by major OEMs; its vendor-neutral software can be deployed on any bare-metal hardware or in a virtual machine to provide orchestration services and run applications. According to Ouissal, the use cases range from monitoring sensors and security cameras to regularly upgrading software in cell towers.
“The C-suite understands that digital transformation is critical to the success of their organization, especially for organizations with distributed operations, and digital transformation cannot happen without edge computing. The ability to collect, analyze and act on data at the distributed edge enables companies to increase competitive advantage, reduce costs, improve operational efficiency, open up new revenue streams and to operate in safer and more secure environments,” said Ouissal. “As a result, edge computing projects are accelerating within organizations.”
Some research confirms this. According According to a June 2021 Eclipse Foundation survey, 54% of organizations surveyed were using or planning to use advanced IT technologies in the next 12 months. A recent IDC report, meanwhile, forecasts double-digit growth in edge computing investments over the next few years.
Zededa’s customers are primarily in the IT infrastructure, industrial automation, and oil and gas industries. Ouissal wouldn’t say how many the company currently has, but said that Zededa remains sufficiently differentiated from its rivals in the edge device orchestration space.
“In terms of the ‘IT down’ trajectory, we are complementary to data solutions such as VMware, SUSE, Nutanix, Red Hat and Sunlight, but these solutions are not suitable for deployments outside of secure data centers. From an OT up perspective, adjacent competitors include Canonical’s Balena, Portainer, and Ubuntu Core. However, these solutions are best suited for “greenfield” use cases that only require containers and lack the security required for true enterprise and industrial deployments,” explained Ouissal. “Despite the economic downturn, the strategic and transformative potential of edge computing to create new business opportunities is driving investors across all verticals to increase their engagement, at a time when they may be more reluctant to invest in other ways.”
Either way, Zeeda, which has a team of around 100 people spread across the US, Germany and India, is actively recruiting and planning to expand its R&D, sales and marketing teams over the course of the year. year, said Ouissal. To date, the eight-year-old startup has raised a total of $55.4 million in venture capital.
“[We aim to increase] the use cases and integrations we support. Within our product, we will continue to focus on innovation to improve ease of use and security. As the edge computing market evolves and matures,” said Ouissal. “We’re also focused on app enablement, including updating legacy apps and bringing new solutions to market that simplify technologies like AI and machine learning.”